The Complete Guide to Books on Flow
Great Resources for Flow and Peak Performance.
There are many good books out there written about flow and peak performance, but it can be difficult to sift through the ones that are worth spending the time and money on. I’ve separated them into a few categories so you can focus on the areas that are the most interesting to you. Although I call this “The Complete Guide to Books on Flow,” this is a work in progress and the list will continuously be updated and expanded. Let me know if you come across another great book on the flow state and peak performance.
What is flow? Simply put, being in the enjoyable state of Flow is the calm awareness and focus on the present, which helps us reach optimum performance levels, be more creative, productive, and happy.
New to Flow? Start Here:
This is written by the original godfather of flow, positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who really put the flow state on the map and backed it up with science and research. This is really a must-read for an understanding of the fundamentals of flow. Although he’s a scientist it is not written in a complex way.
This book by Steven Kotler is written by my mentor and is really the first book to engage in the idea of ultimate human performance. Although he focuses on an investigation of extreme athletes breaking limits, it applies to anyone interested in harnessing the power of flow. There are some great stories in there but it is also backed up by research from this leading flow science expert.
This is author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's follow up to his Flow book, but I have to say I actually prefer this one. His goal is to understand how we arrive at a creativity, what happens leading up to creativity.
Although science based, authors Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool basically show us how to be better at the things we enjoy and better at life in general. They also promotes the fact that with practice and training we create the possibility of becoming better and performing at a higher level, as opposed to the idea that we are simply born with certain talents.
Flow and Sports
Authors Susan Jackson and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi team up for an oldie but a goodie. Some call it a natural high, some call it being in the zone, and although this is a slightly older book it is a great deep dive into sports psychology and flow.
Another collaboration with Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist Christine Weinkauff and running journalist and coach Philip Latter team up on this one. This book explores and promotes the idea of “Runner’s High” and aims to help runners achieve a flow state in competition and training settings, but there is a good breakdown of what the state is, exercises for stimulating flow, as well as interviews from professional runners. As I have developed a regular running routine to help my flow experiences I really enjoyed this book.
Flow in Business
Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler focus on exponential technologies and finding your bold and audacious goal in life, and finding a business that impacts the world.
This book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a little bit older but still relevant today because he really was sort of a visionary. We all need to find enjoyment at work and in business.
Flow Science Textbooks
Author and editor Stefan Engeser Although this is a pricier book it really does show the latest developments in flow science and is a must read if you are interested in the latest flow research.
This book takes a more blended approach of empirical evidence mixed with the science.
Productivity, Focus (flow follows focus)
Cal Newport's Deep Work is about learning to focus without distraction. It walks you through how to set up your life in order to learn complicated things in a quicker way and produce better results. I highly recommend this book.
Author James Clear really lays out the solid foundations of habit formation and this is a guide to breaking down bad habits and building up new good ones.
Flow Hacks for Optimal Human Performance and Happiness
Regularly get new strategies on how to access flow, be more creative and productive, reach your peak performance, and most of all live a happier and healthier life.